Earlier this spring, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) released the list of the most common computer-related crimes. In terms of total number of victims reporting crimes, non-payment and non-delivery frauds topped the list. In all, more than 65,000 people reported getting scammed in this way, losing more than $183 million in the process.
So what is this crime combo? Imagine you are selling something on the internet. It could be through a popular trading platform, your favorite social media site or elsewhere. You think you have a buyer for grandma’s precious keepsakes and send them off. Either the payment sent bounces or you never receive a payment at all. That’s non-payment fraud.
Or, imagine you are the buyer. That car, video game console or cool new toy is listed at a great price. You can’t pass that up, right? You make the deal and send the funds, but the item never shows up at your home. That’s non-delivery fraud.
How can you protect yourself?
Make sure you are dealing with a reputable source. Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure legitimacy.
Obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and call the other party to see if the telephone number is correct and working.
Send an e-mail to the other party to make sure the e-mail address is active, and be wary of those who utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.
Check online reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau from the other party’s area.
Don’t judge a person or company by the look of a website; flashy websites can be set up quickly.
Be cautious when dealing with individuals or companies from outside your own country.
If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.
Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card numbers
If you have been victimized by this online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at?www.ic3.gov?or call your local FBI office.